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Thread: Odd Hot-Neutral Reverse after Ground.

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Dr.Guacamol's Avatar
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    Default Odd Hot-Neutral Reverse after Ground.

    Hi.
    I've been digging around and have not yet seen anybody write about a predicament I've been having. Please forgive me if I've missed some posts out there.

    The issue is a hot-neutral reverse reading on old, non-grounded nob and tube where the outlet was now replaced and grounded to an additional outlet on a newer line that is correct.

    The story;
    Someone I know had one outlet with THREE power strips pluggled into it (TWELVE items plugged in [mostly lights and copiers]) and the outlet crackling.

    So I replaced the outlet and one-gang to a two-gang intending to use another circuit to feed an additional outlet on new romex.
    The old wiring had one clothed hot and neutral pair and two separated clothed wired attached to the outlet.
    (This was the one day my voltmeter died and I had no extra batteries. Otherwise, I would have determined which was line and which was load.) However, I hooked it up to the new outlet exactly has it was before, except this time I made a leg to ground the new outlet with the ground from the other additional outlet on the other newer circuit.

    Before, the old outlet was not hot-neutral reverse. Hooked up exactly the same, but now with a ground, it is.
    ???

    As a side note, the user flips off the power strips each night. So, the devices aren't getting 24/7 the non-switched hot neutral inside the devices I've been reading about ( if true. But still not good).

    Anybody have experience with this?

    I'd really appreciate any expertise about this.

    And thanks to this site. Where are the others?

  2. #2
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Guacamol View Post
    (This was the one day my voltmeter died and I had no extra batteries. I hooked it up to the new outlet exactly has it was before, except this time I made a leg to ground the new outlet with the ground from the other additional outlet on the other newer circuit.
    Don't need batteries to check for voltage on any meter.

    Just how did you install this let to ground. Start at the green screw on the receptacle and go backwards to the other end of this leg you installed

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member Dr.Guacamol's Avatar
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    Default Ground issues

    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    Don't need batteries to check for voltage on any meter.

    Just how did you install this let to ground. Start at the green screw on the receptacle and go backwards to the other end of this leg you installed
    Hi. Thanks for your response!

    First, as an info note, the digital tester would not activate -at all- without working batteries. I was not talking about testing ohms. I did try it without batteries, anyway. Yes, it did not work.

    Second, I made a jumper from the problem new outlet ground to the second new outlet ground (and then connected to the romex ground.
    (Im assuming that when you said; "install this let to ground", I'm guessing you meant "leg".)

    Normally, I've seen ground tails go from each outlet to a shared connector. And normally I've done the same. But how is this different electrically? How would it be different than the use of grounding to the metal outlet box together?

    I appreciate your time or anybody else's on this bizarre situation (to me).

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member Dr.Guacamol's Avatar
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    Again, the real issue is the reading "hot-neutral reverse" for an outlet that used to be fine, but is not now with an additional ground from an additional circuit's and outlet ground (where said additional outlet is fine and correct).

  5. #5
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Your description of the problem defies all logic. The hot and neutrals being reversed has nothing to do with the ground. Either your method of testing is faulty- or, you think you installed the hot and neutral exactly like it was and you are mistaken- or, the original receptacle was wired reversed before you ever touched it.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member Dr.Guacamol's Avatar
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    Interesting.
    Thank you.
    So jwelectric's comments have no pertinence?

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member Dr.Guacamol's Avatar
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    True, I likely could have been mistaken on start as my tester is 3-prong and the old outlet was 2-prong. (So i didn't test, yet that does not confirm prior reversal either way).
    Opinions on appliance wear-and tear if so? (Other sites have debate about this.)

  8. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Reversing hot and neutral could end up being lethal under certain circumstances. One reason lamps now have polarized plugs is so that the hot is on the center terminal, where with a non-polarized plug, you had a 50-50 chance it was hot. Then, happen to be touching the thing just right (i.e., the bulb's outer edge of the base) and touching something grounded could get you very dead.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Senior Member kreemoweet's Avatar
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    Please explain why, if you have a box fed with modern, grounded NM cable, you would even think to connect the old knob-and-tube circuit wires?
    The old wiring should be capped off and left unconnected.

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member Dr.Guacamol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kreemoweet View Post
    Please explain why, if you have a box fed with modern, grounded NM cable, you would even think to connect the old knob-and-tube circuit wires?
    The old wiring should be capped off and left unconnected.
    Hi.
    As stated in original post, the client had 12 things plugged into 3 powerstrips plugged into that 1 old outlet and circuit. He needed the usable line. I added an additional line on another circuit (that already fed some other stuff, too) to split the power demand.

    Thanks for posts.

  11. #11

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    Im trying to wrap my head around your explanation and having trouble. Why cant you loose what I would call a bootleg ground use the 2 wires from the old circuit using a GFCI outlet labeled no equipment ground. Making sure the polarity is correct on the 2 wire circuit of course. Im not and electrician,but wont that meet code? Loosing the knob and tube of course would be the best solution.
    Politicians are like diapers. You need to change them often……for the same reason.

  12. #12
    DIY Junior Member Dr.Guacamol's Avatar
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    best solution. thanks. I will look for GFCI that does not need a ground.

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    To clarify- the NEC allows you to install a regular GFCI receptacle in a box that does not have an existing ground. The GFCI protection works without it.
    The only requirement in doing so it that you physically label the receptacle/cover plate "no equipment ground". This is commonly done in homes that have no installed equipment ground conductors and the receptacles need to be replaced.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; Don't need batteries to check for voltage on any meter.

    Now you tell me, and here I always thought my "blank screen" meant I couldn't use the meter until I installed a new battery. How did you determine that the original outlet was "properly wired", because when it was installed it did not have "polarized" slots and could have be connected either way, regardless of "screw color"?
    Last edited by hj; 02-08-2013 at 06:58 AM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    quote; Don't need batteries to check for voltage on any meter.

    Now you tell me, and here I always thought my "blank screen" meant I couldn't use the meter until I installed a new battery.................
    .......Hmmm, me too Duh! what about you Don, did you know that? My old analog needle VOM does not need batteries, but my digital Flukes?

    Yeah OK, I am in a bad mood
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

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